By: Jaya Ramesh, Team Mangalorean, Oman
"The man who dreamt this is mad. And he’s sitting right here." So says a decorative wall hanging adorning the wall right behind Raj Kumar Goel. Perhaps when Mr. Goel thought of this venture, the idea might have seemed far fetched to many, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dream and making it to the top. The originator of ‘Pratham Ideas’, Raj Kumar Goel has come a long way from where he first started. A dream and a hobby, ‘Pratham Ideas’ has finally blossomed into a full fledged family business today with a completely personal touch that is given by himself, his wife, two daughters and a son. Each piece that is created here is designed by Goel, his wife and daughters. The designs are given life in their own workshop and the end products are exquisitely hand crafted, painted and polished to adorn many a home in India and abroad. The whole family is a great source of inspiration to anyone they come in contact with, as they are a combination of artful souls, exuding beauty, peace and creativity through their chosen medium.
Raj Kumar Goel himself is a poet and designs and creates beautiful ethnic furniture. The Ganesha idols, paintings, artwork, showpieces are all exquisitely designed and created in different mediums by his wife Saroj Ruchi Goel and daughter Praerna. They also design unique wedding cards. The artistic touch to the cards is given by the mother-daughter duo and they are supplemented with poetic and symbolic verses by Mr. Raj Kumar Goel himself. Many of the phrases and sayings on the wall hangings are coined by him. While Raj Kumar Goel is the navigator behind the business, Saroj Ruchi is the sixth sense and Prerna the inspiration.
A very peaceful and serene atmosphere emanates both from their home and their workplace. This is due to the culmination of their dedication towards all art forms. The art is first transformed into its aesthetic form and then recarved into objects of bliss, peace and contentment. The massive collection on display speaks volumes of their exquisite artistic ability. Even a single straw of hay is not spared. Saroj and Prerna wave their magic wand and a unique piece of art takes shape. The smile of contentment on the final users face is ensured.
Mr. Raj Kumar Goel spoke about his self-made family business to Mangalorean.com with pride and satisfaction.
How did ‘Pratham Ideas’ originate?
Pratham Ideas was actually an accident. We, as a family felt the need to express happiness and celebration amongst friends and relations in a different and original manner, so I along with my wife started making tiny Ganeshas mounted upon stone bases and covered with glass tubes for protection. They looked heavenly and cost peanuts. We then started gifting them to our friends and enjoyed their questions of awe and wonder. One day, a friend asked if he could get 200 such pieces-of-heart as he called them. That’s how it all started.
How long did it take to set up?
It was the year 1990 and I started working on this order from my friend on a weekend, with Rs. 5000 and completed it within two days. From then on there was no looking back for us. Now its not just an obsession or passion but plain possession as we have so many of them.
Has this always been a family dream?
At first when I first ventured into this business, it was not. But now, yes it is. And the family keeps growing!
Why did you choose this particular name for launching your artistic products?
Well, ‘Pratham’ stands for first and ‘Ideas’ stands for thoughts that are natural. Our products are handmade and made with the simplest of materials, like clay, earth and fibre glass. The ideas are our own and we mix and match the originals to get the finished products.
So whose baby is ‘Pratham Ideas’?
Call it everyone’s. It started off with me then caught on with Saroj my wife, later with my daughters Shraddha and Prerna and today it has spread like a wild forest fire. There’s no stopping it. My family is very artistic and they design, paint and fashion each product with loving care and attention. Each of our artistic pieces has that personal touch.
Any external help?
None whatsoever! We have a workshop where we do the work ourselves. All the work is internal, straight from the heart. There’s a big child within each one of us that manages marvelously.
What, in your opinion has been the reasons for the success of ‘Pratham Ideas’?
Great artistic pairs of eyes are a must. There has also been an independence for creativity. Support from a growing tribe of like-minded students and budding raw artists. And of course, the inspiration that we derive from nature.
Has your dream project proved to be too expensive?
Dreams are always a bonus. It’s the interpretation that is expensive or inexpensive. We started off with a seed capital of Rs. 5000 and the will to be different and original. But today as we increase our work, it is proving to be more expensive and is changing our entire lifestyle.
Will you diversify?
Yes of course. Creativity and ideas are universal and know no boundaries. We’re launching ourselves into a very exciting phase of designing and making garden furniture. We also have plans to diversify into landscaping, flooring and wall beautification and many other ideas.
Speaking from an artistic point of view, what have you gained from ‘Pratham Ideas’?
Complete satisfaction, peace of mind and great happiness that only art can give to a human being. ‘Pratham Ideas’ has brought us closer to people who love art and we have made friends with some like-minded people. Art gives you that unique sense of looking at the world at large with a mysterious smile and you walk taller for it.
What kind of clientele do you have?
A very wide spectrum actually. But basically the artistically inclined, the one’s who choose to be different and who share a sense of belonging with the occasion. For such people, both the gifting and the person to be gifted hold importance. In fact, the value of the very act of gifting that piece of art becomes more important than the actual value of the gift.
The main business is located in Sion East, Mumbai and the Goel’s have displayed their art in various exhibitions and art festivals like Giftex and Times Utsav. The visiting card for Pratham Ideas says it all ? "There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment." The Goel family has certainly made magic with their enthusiasm. There is definitely no place for mediocrity there.
To get in touch with the Goel’s at Pratham Ideas email on – . Website:
Mangalorean.com wishes Raj Kumar Goel and his talented family all the best in their pursuit to nurture, develop and spread the love of art to everyone.
Author: Jaya Ramesh- Oman